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Is Optimizely A Good Fit For Portals?

This is a question that I am often asked and having seen many successful Optimizely portals, I can absolutely say the answer is yes.  I’ve been amazed by what clients have been able to achieve with portals built on the platform.  In this article, I would like to discuss a few topics that could potentially help you make the decision for yourself because context is definitely key.

#1 Features

Portals serve many different purposes these days.  A few examples of functions a portal may serve for your company:

  • Employee Directory
  • Document Repository
  • Corporate Communications
  • Workspaces
  • Blogging
  • Application Launchpad
  • Information Aggregator (News/Resources)
  • Search (For many of these features)

A quick look at these features shows that some of these elements lend themselves towards back office or document collaboration.  If this is the main function of your portal, you are most likely looking for something along the lines of SharePoint or similar systems in which direct integration with document management or shared drafting is key.  It is very hard to beat SharePoint in a situation like this.  It holds unique advantage in that these are all core office capabilities.  Particularly if customizing the design of the site is irrelevant.

However, the other features on this list are not unlike others you would find on a public website and very much play to the strengths of a platform such as Optimizely.  Rich authoring experience, personalization, experimentation, analytics capabilities, and search all give a nod to Optimizely, which ranks as one of the top DXP platforms.  If communications are the goal of your portal, the more these features shine.  If you want your portal to resemble a public website and have ultimate flexibility over page layout, composition, integrations, and such – you should absolutely be looking at Optimizely.  These features break the mold of the “site in a box” model and lend themselves tightly to corporate brand & identity.  Portals with more of these features open themselves to the broader set of the Optimizely product suite, where it can take your portal to the next level.

#2 Ecosystem

Before deciding portal platform, it’s important to assess your broader site portfolio.

  • Are your publicly available websites all on a common platform?
  • Is that platform different from your portal platform?
  • Would you like to utilize features, content, or templates from these sites in your portal?
  • Are you currently evaluating a new platform for all websites due to limitations with your portal or public website platforms?

If you can answer yes to most or all of these questions, you should be looking at Optimizely as a potential platform.  Optimizely’s multisite feature allows content for all of these sites to reside under the same roof.  Even if permissions dictate that it has different owners, the ability is there to benefit from existing content, templates, and blocks for reuse in other sites.  The more sites you build on the platform, the lesser the burden of new components and page development on your development team for each subsequent team.  You can take advantage of development practices across properties, streamlining development & rapid deployment.  Likewise, the more you can benefit from experiments and personalization rules created for subsequent sites to be repurposed.  Thinking about your websites as one cohesive ecosystem allows you to get more out of the platform at a lower average effort per site with a higher rate of reuse.

#3 Vision

Do you feel confident that the platform you are on today can meet your goals for tomorrow?  The decision to move to a new platform for your portal could be a first step in a bigger direction for your overall digital strategy.

  • Maybe you want to use some light personalization to serve up relevant content to your internal employees. Why not take advantage of this on your public sites as well?
  • What about dashboards set up to reach from integrated applications such as Salesforce, Dynamics, or SAP? Optimizely has connectors that your public websites can use to directly fill leads & data to these systems.
  • Do you have data residing in many different silos that you want to generate reports from? Optimizely’s Data Platform (ODP) can be used to coordinate & aggregate disparate data from multiple sources.  Tapping into this can serve as a great basis for custom dashboards & reports within your portal.
  • Do users struggle to find relevant information in your portal? Content Recommendations can utilize AI learning to deliver users relevant pages with low effort.

If you feel you are just getting by with your current platform instead of getting ahead, you may want to consider your portal as a launchpad for larger initiatives.  The same can be said if you are already utilizing Optimizely on one or many of your other sites.  This is a great opportunity to get more for your investment and look into bringing your portal onto Optimizely as well.

These are just 3 topics to think about when determining the right platform for your Intranet, but there are many more.  If you have questions or would like to discuss with us in further detail, I would love the opportunity to follow up on your particular portal needs.

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